Professional vs. Over-the-counter Teeth Whitening
A bright white smile can transform your appearance and boost your confidence. Teeth whitening treatments can remove years of discoloration to reveal a more vibrant, youthful smile. There are two primary options when it comes to teeth whitening treatment, professional or over-the-counter (OTC) teeth whitening. Each comes with its own benefits, which can make it difficult for patients to determine which is best for their needs.
Cosmetic dentist Louis J. Buono helps patients achieve their teeth whitening goals by explaining the difference between professional versus OTC teeth whitening treatment during consultations. Contact our Long Island, NY office to find out which treatment is right for you.
Professional Teeth Whitening
Professional teeth whitening can effectively lift years of stains and discoloration in as little as one treatment session. There are different types of professional teeth whitening treatments, including Zoom!® teeth whitening and LaserSmile®. In general, professional teeth whitening is performed by cleaning the teeth and then applying a bleaching gel. A laser or special light is then applied to enhance the whitening benefits of the gel. Treatment may be completed in as little as one 60-minute dental visit.
Many patients choose professional teeth whitening because it produces better results than OTC teeth whitening products. Professional teeth whitening produces superior results thanks to more powerful bleaching solutions and special lights that boost whitening, all of which can make the teeth eight to ten shades whiter in a single treatment. Some benefits of professional teeth whitening include:
- Professionally monitored: Professional teeth whitening is performed and monitored by a trained dental professional who can ensure whitening occurs evenly for optimal results.
- Instant results: Many patients achieve their desired whitening results in a single professional teeth whitening treatment.
- Enhanced whitening: Professional whitening treatment combines high powered bleaching gels with special dental lights to transform the teeth to a dazzling, brilliant white.
OTC Teeth Whitening
There are many treatments available on the market, allowing patients to choose the treatment best suited to their lifestyle. Some OTC treatments use a bleaching gel and tooth tray, some are disposable strips with a pre-applied whitening agent, and some are similar to toothpaste.
Most OTC whitening treatments include hydrogen peroxide as the whitening agent, which forms small bubbles on the surface of the teeth to help remove stains. OTC whitening treatments must be left on the teeth for a certain amount of time and generally need to be repeated before results will be noticeable. Many OTC whitening products require 30 minutes of daily use for a week. Following product directions is recommended to ensure proper use and results.
One of the main benefits of OTC whitening systems is that they allow those who wish to achieve a brighter smile to do so in the comfort of their own home. The downside is that treatment usually needs to be repeated and, even after regular use, may not sufficiently whiten the teeth.
Which Treatment Is Right for You?
When deciding between professional versus OTC teeth whitening treatments, it's important to consider the severity of discoloration as well as desired results. Professional treatments are much more effective at removing stains than over-the-counter options and provide overall better results. For more information about teeth whitening, or to find out which treatment is right for you, we encourage you to schedule a consultation with Dr. Buono.